The Elections Commission (EC) has postponed applications to contest in this year's Presidential Election from July 15 to 23.
The commission's President Ahmed Shareef made the announcement at a press conference held Thursday afternoon.
Shareef explained that the application date was postponed as November 17 would mark the final day of the current presidential term. As per the Constitution which states that the EC should make a public announcement inviting candidature for presidency within 10 days of the final 120 days of the term of the serving president, EC stated that July 23 marks the beginning of the final 120 days.
Acknowledging that there had been difference of opinions amongst EC members regarding the final day of the current presidential term, Shareef said that they had made the decision based on the Attorney General's counsel.
Presidential candidates can submit their applications between July 23 - August 4.
The individuals who have officially announced their presidential candidacies are:
- President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)
- Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s parliamentary group leader Ibrahim "Ibu" Mohamed Solih from the joint opposition
- Former Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer as an independent candidate
- Former deputy president of Local Government Authority (LGA), Hussain Shujau, as an independent candidate
Shareef stated that the EC would announce the final list of eligible presidential candidates on August 18, and that the candidates can officially hold campaign activities from that day until 6:00 p.m. on September 22.
Noting that political parties are already holding activities to garner support for their candidates, Shareef assured that the EC would support peaceful campaigns that proceed within the legal framework.
He also urged to provide equal campaigning opportunities for all presidential candidates. Shareef added that Maldives Police Service would cooperate in providing security for campaign activities should parties discuss security details with the police first.
In Thursday's press conference, Shareef reiterated that this year's election would be the most free, fair and transparent election to be held yet. He further highlighted that international entities have expressed interest in observing and monitoring the election.